Best Buy Customer Returns Extra iPads Sent By Accident, Feels Like A Sucker

We were surprised, last week, to hear about a Best Buy customer who ordered one iPad, then received a box of five. It was even more surprising when we heard from another customer who had the same problem. We keep hearing from more people who have received iPacks instead of iPads. One of them was Eric, who took them back to the local Best Buy and received a $50 iTunes gift card for his trouble. He was surprised to learn from a fellow commuter about our series of posts. Especially the part where Best Buy offered to let the other customers keep the four bonus iPads. Now he feels like a sucker.

He writes:

I bought one (1) iPad2 from Bestbuy.com a couple weeks ago. They shipped me five (5) iPads too.

I think they were delivered last Monday, 12/03/12 (see attached invoice). When I took the box from UPS I thought, “This feels too big and heavy to be an iPad, but whatever.” I stuck the package in my closet and I did not open it until this past Sunday, 12/09/12. After a crisis of conscience that lasted 24 hours or so, I did what I felt was the only decent thing to do, and I drove to the local Best Buy store and returned the 4 iPads, a $1,600 value. As you can see by the attached letter, they gave me proof that I returned them, as well as a $50 iTunes gift card. That was nice. After all, they didn’t owe me anything.

Then, today, I tell my story to a fellow commuter who tells me that he read online where others experienced this and were told to keep the extras. Huh? WTF?! I went online, and read the various articles that he had seen. I even called Best Buy this morning. The Customer Service Rep I spoke to laughed and said that if they advised consumers to keep four iPads that they did not order nor pay for, that they would be fired. Sounds logical to me. These are $400 tablets, not $20 ink toner cartridges.

I can only conclude that either the folks who told you they were authorized to keep the extra iPads are lying, or Best Buy has a wildly inconsistent and, frankly, unfair policy with regards to situations like this. If the facts reported by consumerist are accurate, multiple consumers were on the receiving end of this scre-up, only some were authorized to keep hundreds of dollars worth of product and I got a $50 gift card.

Did I do the right thing? I’m not sure any longer. I asked numerous people, and it was running about 50-50 in terms of keeping them versus returning them. Today, the keep ‘em crowd had a good laugh on me.

eric

Angie, meanwhile, didn’t get any extra iPads, but she did receive two-for-one Android tablets.

I called 1-888-BESTBUY and talked to a customer rep. She apologized and said she would mail a return label for it. I asked her if she had heard about the iPad mishap and she knew nothing. I filled her in on your story and she again said that she was not aware of it. I’ll be receiving a return label in the mail in a few days.

It did sound too good to be true. Oh well. I’m just bummed that a needy family won’t be receiving a free tablet – I already had them picked out :-(

Angie's tablets.

Angie’s tablets.

Not that this is a new problem. Chris reports that he received a 5-pack of iPads back in 2010, and Best Buy rewarded his honesty.

Christmas 2010 I ordered an iPad from Best Buy for my son and got 5. My dilemma in keeping the iPads was explaining to my kids how I was keeping something I hadn’t paid for. So I waited several weeks before taking them back to my local store. Coincidentally, they had discovered 4 missing iPads from an inventory check, and were very grateful of my return. And they gave me a store credit which I used towards the purchase of a flat screen tv when mine blew up!

It’s not just Best Buy, though. Jay reports that Apple has been known to send out cases of iPads, too:

So, the same thing happened to my boss when the iPad 3rd Gen came out. Only it wasn’t Best Buy this time. He ordered four of them from Apple (hoping to cash in on stock shortages and eBay the extras) only Apple sent him EIGHT! Obviously they double shipped the order somehow. Being an honest person, he called Apple and asked if they would send him a return shipping label so he could send them back. They told him they could not do that because according to their inventory system the four iPads in question were still in stock at their warehouse! They asked him to instead take them to the nearest Apple Store and return them there. Well, we live in Wyoming and the nearest Apple Store is a few hundred miles away, which is a little beyond the scope of even your most honest good Samaritan. So, he just held onto the iPads thinking that the next time he had to drive to Salt Lake for something he;d take them back then. The weirdest part of the whole thing was how little the Apple Customer Service rep seemed to care! Four iPads missing and unpaid for? No big deal! The situation eventually did get resolved (unfortunately with the iPads going back to Apple), but it certainly was very strange!

It’s very interesting to know that my boss is not the only one this has happened to. I wonder how many iPads are floating around that Apple or Best Buy just decided that retrieving them is more hassle than it’s worth…

PREVIOUSLY:
My Mom Ordered One iPad And Best Buy Sent Five
Hey, Best Buy Also Sent Me Five iPads When I Only Ordered One!